1 large bottle red wine

1 can citrus [the blue can] 5 alive, frozen concentrate undiluted

1 large bottle Fresca

Combine in a large punch bowl or pitcher. Stir and enjoy.  Best if made the day before planning to use so the Sangria “melds.”  Fresh or frozen fruit can also be added.  Enjoy!

Best Lemonade

Doesn’t get much simpler and is very refreshing on a hot day.

1/3 – ½ c. sugar

½ c. lemon juice

3 ½ c. water
Dissolve sugar in ½ c. of the water.  Heat the water a bit to help the sugar dissolve.  Combine with the remainder of the ingredients in a pitcher, chill and enjoy.

Force Fed Part II – Voiceless, Defenseless, Powerless

The online dictionary defines voiceless as “having no voice in the management or control of affairs.”

After I left the abusive foster home, the weight fell off thanks to a new environment that included more exercise and less food.    My weight was more or less stable throughout my teens.  I’d been with the same foster family for almost 4 years.

I’d also started dating a man in his early twenties.  Things were a bit chaotic after I started dating “P” — I was sneaking out and lying about where I was going to be with “P”, all of which culminated in accusations of pregnancy/lost virginity from my foster parents.  I developed headaches during these years.

Then the bottom fell out of my world.  My foster parents announced they were moving to the United States.  I wasn’t invited.

So here was my reality in 1979:  I was 17, going to graduate high school, was dating an older man, and about to be abandoned by the foster family I had lived with for almost 4 years.    While I didn’t know it at the time, in a year I would also be cut loose from foster care [known as “aging out.”]

I freaked out and went into survival mode.  When “P” proposed, I accepted and we married shortly after I graduated from high school.  My as-usual-absent father was not in attendance.  My foster parents didn’t support the marriage and it’s difficult to recall if they provided alternatives. My grandparents came from the US and my grandfather walked me down the aisle.

The marriage wasn’t a cure all.  I remember “P” as being somewhat controlling, [“I don’t ever want to see the outside of that toaster looking that dirty again”] and finances were tight.  I was afraid, lacked confidence, and was emotionally and physically withdrawn and uncertain.  “P” cheated on me with a hooker and wanted me to know it, since he charged the affair to our credit card.  At the mercy of my circumstances, I had little control.

Two years into this marriage, I developed an eating disorder.    I decided to eat less than 1,000 calories a day and existed on protein shakes for breakfast and lunch and a “sensible” dinner of mostly vegetables.  [This sounds eerily similar to those advertisements for diet companies doesn’t it.]  My weight dropped to 117 pounds.  At 5’6”, the BMI calculator gives that a BMI of 18.9.  [a BMI of less than 18.5 is considered “underweight”.]   The wake up call was when my disorder caused health problems and I began to eat again.   Two years later, the marriage ended in divorce.

Looking back, it surprises me that I did not develop an eating disorder sooner; after all, I had had little say or control over my life since I was 7 years old.

According to a report entitled “Youth Leaving Care – How Do They Fare” dated September, 2005, by The Modernizing Income Security for Working Age Adults (MISWAA) Task Force foster children who age out of the system are at increased risk for:

  • leaving school before completing their secondary education
  • becoming a parent at a young age
  • becoming dependent on social assistance, unemployed/underemployed or incarcerated
  • experiencing homelessness
  • having mental health problems and
  • being at higher risk for substance abuse problems

The report goes on to say:

Youth in care face considerable challenges in making the transition from state care to independence and adulthood. They bear the scars of physical and emotional trauma, yet are expected to function independently, usually with little social or financial support, once they reach age 18. Canadian youth aging out of care have cited the following requirements as being crucial in ensuring better transitions to adulthood:

  • need for ongoing supportive relationships
  • peer support, independent living training
  • increased access to financial support and
  • support in gaining access to education, employment and training programs

International research has attributed better outcomes for youth aging out where they:

  • complete high school
  • access post-secondary opportunities and role models
  • refrain from alcohol/drug use
  • obtain life skills and independent living training and
  • experience stable placements while in care

Canada does not have the capacity to track the outcomes of youth as they leave care, nor can our programs identify the types of interventions showing the most promise in helping them to achieve better outcomes.

The authors of this report recommend providing extended support to youth aging out in such areas as financial assistance, health benefits, education assistance, and the development of standards to youth leaving care.

My marriage at 17 terminated my government care.  Had I not married, I would have had another placement until I turned 18 and things might have turned out differently. “Aging out” would not have changed but with proper support how I approached it might have.


Make it Once, Eat it Twice with Salmon Fillets

I’m becoming a huge fan of this cooking style, particularly when I’m time-strapped or energy-depleted.

Each meal serves two and both are minimally prepared

First Meal

Salmon with a Maple Soy Glaze, Rice and Frozen Vegetables

Prepare rice – I use a rice cooker –
Fill bottom of rice cooker with water.
Add 1 cup rice and 1 cup water each to the basket that is placed inside the cooker. Stir. Plug it in and set the timer to 30 minutes.


4. frozen salmon fillets (no need to thaw first)*
2 T. each Soy Sauce and Maple Syrup
1 tsp. each ginger and garlic

Preheat oven to 450. Lay salmon fillets in a large casserole dish. Combine soy sauce, maple syrup and ginger and garlic in a small bowl. Pour over salmon. Bake in oven for approximately 18 minutes.

The rice and salmon dishes each provide four servings. Serve with steamed stir fry vegetables.

Meal Two

Reserve half the rice and two of the salmon fillets. Cut the salmon fillets up into small pieces, combine with the rice, and add some stir fry vegetables – place in a non-stick frying pan with some water, soy sauce, ginger and garlic. Fry for a few minutes until the vegetables are thawed and the rice and salmon are heated through.

*Thawed chicken breasts would also work; cook until no longer pink inside and the juices run clear.

Make it Once, Eat it Twice: Cheater Chili and Taco Salad

Make it once, eat it twice–two meals for the effort of one.

Cheater Chili and Taco Salad

Meal #1 – Cheater Chili

One, 642 ml jar of chunky salsa, as hot as you like

1 1b. ground beef

1 19 oz. can beans, rinsed and drained

1 tsp. garlic

1 – 2 T. chili powder

Brown ground beef than add salsa, beans and spices.  Simmer about 10 minutes or until heated through.  Serve with buns or taco chips.

Take the leftover chili and turn it into

Meal #2 – Taco Salad

Chop up some tomatoes,  peppers,  lettuce and shred some cheese and placing all of these ingredients in individual serving bowls.  Re-heat the leftover chili.  Assemble the salad by starting with taco chips, chili, the vegetables and the cheese.  Serve with additional salsa, sour cream, and guacamole.